Capitol Correspondence - 04.17.17

Democrats Unwilling to Budge on Funding ACA Subsidies

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Last week, President Trump threatened to withhold funding for Affordable Care Act (ACA) cost-sharing subsidies which help low-income Americans pay for co-pays and deductibles under health plans. Trump said in an interview that he was considering withholding funding for the cost-sharing reductions as a way to bring Democrats to the table to negotiate on health care reform. 
Democrats in both the House and the Senate flatly rejected any efforts to scale back funding, saying that the subsidies must be included in any spending bill. The current continuing resolution funding the federal government is set to expire on April 28, leaving less than two www.anweeks for lawmakers to advance a bill that will prevent a government shutdown. An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that funding for the program “must be included” as “permanent mandatory spending.”
The cost-sharing subsidies were at the heart of a lawsuit filed by House Republicans against the Obama administration. The lawmakers argued that the funding of the subsidies by the Obama administration was illegal, as appropriations are the purview of Congress. As the case works its way through the court system, payments are still being made, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said in the past that he expects funding to continue for the time being. 
Several Republicans have said they do not intend to fund the subsidies in the forthcoming appropriations bill. However, many recognize that stopping the subsidies could have a negative impact on insurance markets, which could cause more insurers to pull out of ACA marketplaces. 
Source: Politico